There are many reasons you may be considering using an online program to complete a veterinary technician degree. But while it may seem like an easy way to get an education, there are some points to consider before you should fully commit to a program.
Pro: You can complete an online program anywhere.
AVMA accredited Veterinary Technician and Technology programs do not exist in every city, so finding a program near you may be difficult. By doing an online program, you can get your education no matter where you live as long as you have a proper Internet connection. You can also do your actual coursework from any location, including home or work. You don’t have to worry about attending specific classes at specific times to get schoolwork done.
Con: Without real classes, you don’t get to benefit from class discussions.
While not everyone relies on in-class discussions to learn information, many people do find that type of interaction and environment helpful to their learning process. Other students may ask questions or bring up topics important to the class. And by being in a physical class, you have the opportunity to ask questions directly to the teacher. Working online at home takes away much of the interactive aspects of learning, which may make it difficult for some students to really absorb necessary information.
Pro: It costs less to go to school through an online program.
The tuition for online schooling can cost thousands of dollars less altogether than going to a traditional school. There are no fees required for meals, dorm rooms, parking, etc. Many programs create their own textbooks materials which they include with their program, so there is less cost for textbooks as well.
Con: Many online programs do not offer financial aid.
While the tuition fees may be less than those of a traditional school, they do still exist and can be difficult to pay out of pocket. While traditional schools will offer financial aid, scholarships, and grants, many online schools do not work with such systems. They require fees to be paid up front or through monthly payments.
Pro: You can take as much time as you need to finish an online program.
Online programs are done “at your own pace” in order to fit around your existing work and home schedules. You do not have to attend classes at certain times and can study for as long as you wish each day. You also do not have to adhere to semesters or quarters or vacation time, but can work every day straight through until you have completed your degree if you wish. This means you may take two years to complete the basic Associate’s degree in veterinary technology, or you may take one year and six months, or up to three years.
Con: You have to set up your practicum by yourself.
When you go to a traditional school, they will have it set up with local veterinary offices to take you on during your necessary internships and practicums. However, when you attend an online school their is usually not such an existing relationship between the school and the veterinary offices in your area. It becomes your responsibility to contact offices, speak with managers and veterinarians, and set up your practicum times yourself. If you already have a relationship with an office this may not be too difficult, but if you have never spoken to any local veterinary offices this may be a complicated process.